While death rates in the United States are declining, 38 million people die from noncommunicable diseases (NCD) globally, with cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) remaining the leading cause of death in the world. As part of our commitment to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke around the world, the American Heart Association (AHA) today signed a formal memorandum of understanding with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to advance CPR training and cardiovascular science sharing in the world’s most populous country. This effort marks a significant step forward in advancing the World Health Assembly’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 2025.
The agreement intends to accelerate cooperation in three areas important to reducing the global burden of NCD.
- CPR training and awareness initiatives to train people how to use CPR to save the life of someone experiencing cardiac arrest. With cardiac arrest, seconds count; immediate CPR from a bystander can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
- Physician exchange to expand opportunities to convene researchers, healthcare providers, epidemiologists and public health specialists from the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The joint purpose is to share ideas, develop fellowship and advance programs that will improve systems of care, patient outcomes and overall health and wellness in both countries.
- Cardiovascular science engagement opportunities will expand AHA’s global science-sharing efforts through AHA annual meetings, joint science sessions at other countries’ cardiology societies, and local science meetings to regularly share the best in science with leading scientists, researchers, and practitioners from the PRC and the United States.
This cooperative agreement offers another example of how we are working to significantly impact global health and further our efforts to create a world of lifesavers. We are the only organization that provides multi-level first aid, CPR and advanced lifesaving training in more than 100 countries. Our resuscitation leadership combined with our experience in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease makes us uniquely positioned to meet this health challenge working with MOST.
- NCDs are China’s Number One Health Threat
- NCDs like diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and cancer, kill more people globally and in China than infectious diseases.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs account for 70 percent of all deaths globally; however, NCDs are estimated to account for 87 percent of total deaths in China.
- Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths and cardiovascular diseases specifically account for 45 percent of total deaths in China.
- The population is aging in China, the world’s most populous country, and NCDs are becoming more common.
- Growing urbanization is one of the socioeconomic risks for NCDs. China’s urban population of more than 680 million people outnumbered its rural population for the first time in January, 2012.
- According to the WHO in 2011, 47 percent of adult males smoked tobacco in China.
“The knowledge to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke in one country can benefit people in many other countries. By training more people in CPR, more lives can be saved. More than 16 million people are trained in AHA First Aid, CPR or Advanced Life Support programs each year. Even if just a small percentage of the Chinese population learns CPR, that would result in millions more lifesavers in the world, who are prepared and ready to act in a cardiac arrest emergency,” said Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, past president of the American Heart Association and director of the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Tomaselli is one of the AHA volunteer representative for the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).
The memorandum of understanding agreement was signed today at a celebratory event at the Mayflower Renaissance in Washington, D.C. after the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE). With the signing of the MOU, the AHA and MOST will now work together to create specific implementation plans for each of the three areas of the cooperative agreement.
I hope you are as excited as I am about this opportunity to create more lifesavers around the world. Check out some photos from today’s event below.